Social media is bigger now than it’s ever been before. Click here to learn 10 key tips for successful small business social media marketing.
In April 2016, there were about 4.2 billion monthly users on the top eight social media sites. From a business standpoint, that’s 4.2 billion potential consumers, many of whom are interacting with one another in a specific digital space.
Small business social media marketing has become a critical marketing strategy that companies need to invest in order to be successful.
Social media is constantly evolving, though, so it can be difficult to keep up with the modern trends and understand the most effective strategies. Plus, what works for one business will not necessarily work for all.
Below, we’re providing a comprehensive guide of 10 key tips for successful small business social media marketing.
Read on to learn how to employ the right strategies for your business, so that you can begin engaging new audiences and converting them into new customers today.
1. You Don’t Have to Be on Every Platform
There are dozens of social media platforms available today, and you could spend entire weeks trying to figure them all out. As a small business, you don’t have that kind of time or resources.
Rather than trying to do everything, focus on the sites with the most users and decide which ones make sense for your brand and your product. It’s better to have a strong presence on a few sites than a weak presence on all of them.
Get to know the most popular:
- Can share content posts, photos, videos and respond to comments directly
- Has options designed specifically for small business social media marketing
- Based entirely on photo and video posts
- Mobile first platform — users can’t take pictures or create posts on the desktop version
- Known for its unique filters and photo editing options
- Share short text updates of 140 characters or fewer
- Interact directly with other users by mentioning their username in your posts
- Join a global conversation through the inclusion of trending hashtags
- Video sharing platform that allows users to upload, rate, comment on, and share content
- Hub for news and entertainment content
- Opportunity for small business social media marketing via partnership with popular posters
- Mobile only social media network
- Known for content that disappears after a certain amount of seconds
- Can send content to specific users, or add to a public Story
- Functions like a digital bulletin board
- Users can “pin” and display content from around the Internet
- Geared primarily toward more creative industries, like food, DIY projects, beauty, etc.
2. Determine Your Target Audience
Knowing what audience you’re trying to target can help you determine where to focus your small business social media marketing efforts.
We’ve already determined that it’s impossible to be active on every network. You do want to make sure, though, that your company has a presence on the sites your specific target audience are using.
Spend some time thinking about who you are marketing to, and what kind of messaging that person would respond to.
If you think longer form content is attractive to your demographic, you definitely want to maintain an active Facebook page. If you think your customer would be more visual, you should focus efforts on Instagram.
3. Know Your Industry
Not every customer is going to be reachable via every social media platform. By the same logic, not every industry lends itself to every social media site.
Knowing the nature of your business can help you decide where to focus your small business social media marketing efforts.
If you have a very visual product or service — such a professional photography business or a catering company — then the more visual sites will probably work better for you.
If your business is less creative in nature, you may want to focus more on sites like Facebook and Twitter, which allow you to engage directly with consumers via written content.
Being successful on social media is as much about knowing your brand and company reputation as it is about knowing what the sites do and who is on them.
4. Post Consistently
When you first join a new social media site, you’ll probably be excited to post a lot of content in a short amount of time, which is great. It will help you establish your presence and engage with new consumers.
In order to potentially convert this new audience into actual customers, however, you will need to keep up with a consistent schedule of new posts over the weeks, months, and years to come.
That doesn’t mean you have to post new content on the hour, every hour. For small business social media marketing, that’s unrealistic.
Find a schedule for posting that you’re comfortable with and know you can stick to — like once a day or several times a week — and stick to it religiously.
Once consumers come to expect new content from you at a certain time, they’ll make checking your social media sites part of their everyday routine.
5. Stay on Top of Small Business Social Media Marketing Trends
Because social media is such a fast-paced industry, popular trends and best practices can change quickly.
Staying on top of what’s new can seem like a time-consuming task, but it’s well worth it to be up-to-date.
The biggest draw of social media is that it’s a place where consumers and brands can communicate with each other in an authentic way. It’s more about engagement than it is about selling something.
If your social media presence begins to feel outdated, consumers will no longer trust that it’s authentic.
6. Don’t Over Polish Your Posts
Creating content for small business social media marketing is different than creating content for a company website or business newsletter. You want your voice to sound like that of a real person, not a corporate machine.
That doesn’t mean you should be unprofessional, but don’t you shouldn’t worry as much about everything sounding perfect or being written in an exacting way. Social media is not the place for formality.
Spend some time developing a brand voice that both represents who you are and is appropriate for the medium you’re using to communicate with your audience.
7. Vary Your Content
You’re on social media because you want to market and promote your business, so it makes sense for that to be the overreaching goal of the content that you post.
But unlike when they’re watching TV or listening to the radio — places where consumers expect to be advertised to — people on social media don’t want to be interrupted by ads.
Focus on posting quality content that tells a story first, and sells a product or service second. Every once in a while, post something that you think your audience would enjoy, even if it doesn’t relate to your business.
Entertaining and valuable content is the best way to get someone’s attention. Once you have it, you can begin the work of converting a consumer into a customer.
8. Use Images Strategically
Social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat are image-only spaces, but even on sites like Facebook and Twitter you can post pictures along with your written content.
But don’t post photos just to post them. Just like written content, images should provide a value for your audience. It should give them an inside look at your business, or show off a product that is best explained visually.
Whenever you do post a photo, you want to make sure it’s as crisp and high-quality as possible. You don’t need a professional photographer to take your social media shots, but you want to avoid blurry, low-quality images at all costs.
9. Optimise Social Sharing
One great way to expand your social media network is by optimising all of your channels for social sharing.
All of the main social media sites have buttons that you can add on to your web pages or external emails, which make it easy for your readers to share your content for you.
With one simple click, they can share your blog post or article on their personal social media page. That could potentially expose your business to an entire group of people you wouldn’t have encountered otherwise, and drive that traffic back to your site.
10. Engage with the Good and the Bad
A significant benefit of social media is that it allows you to interact with customers directly, and in real time. If someone has a question, you can answer it. If they have a comment, you can respond.
This is great when people are sharing positive feedback, but it can be even more useful as a tool to respond to criticism.
Engage with negative comments just as you would to positive ones. Respond in a professional manner, acknowledge the poster’s opinion, and offer a solution if possible.
If you ignore negative commenters, customers won’t trust that you truly value their opinions or experience.
Ready to Get Started with Small Business Social Media Marketing?
Though social media can be a lot to keep up with, it really is a gift to small businesses. It allows you to engage with your target audience in an authentic way, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money to do it.
For more information on social media marketing and improving brand awareness, please contact us at any time.